What do you think of when you hear the word ‘betrayal’? Maybe the first thing you jump to is Cypher unplugging everyone in the movie, The Matrix. Yup, that one does it for me. Or maybe you’re thinking of how in junior high, your best friend’s little sister went and told everyone about your crush on Timmy WhatsHisName. And by 2:15 p.m. that day, the entire eighth grade knew. Relatable…
It’s expected that your friends’ little sister would blab your business as she was glued to the other side of the door eavesdropping. But it’s not expected from those we trust, or those we sacrifice parts of ourselves for. That’s what makes betrayal so brutal; it comes from the ones we least expect it from like our partner, our mom, our brother, our best friend. But, it happens. And when it does, it leaves a gaping hole where our heart and trust used to be. Does it make us dumb? Naïve? In love? Or just a trusting person who got screwed to the Nth degree by the people we trusted the most?
…So, why play?
First things first, we’re not dumb or naïve for loving someone who can’t return love. And we’re not dumb or naïve for trusting someone who proved, well…totally untrustworthy. Does it make it all better? Fuck no. Does it soften the blow? Nope. But it can be used to empower you: the harsher the betrayal, the stronger you can emerge from it.
Acceptance: The biggest and hardest pill to swallow is acceptance. Why? Because acceptance means taking the bull by the horns and learning awareness into your situation. Is it going to hurt? Unbelievably. Will there be tears? More than you can count. Will there be anger? You bet. Maybe you fell in love with a lie, or someone donning the “knight in shining armor” routine. Or maybe this time you played that knight. Maybe you befriended someone whose only agenda was to hurt you…or were you that ‘friend?’ Maybe a coworker took your idea as their own and scored the promotion you were up for. Or, maybe your number was up with a relative who enjoys causing family drama while sitting back and playing a victim. Two sides of the same coin; flip…..round and round we go,…”tails, who runs?” So, are you going to take chase? Or stop the cycle?
With acceptance comes awareness, and awareness; self-love.
Accountability: Piggybacking on acceptance is accountability. So, why accountability? Well, why not? The thing is, accountability is about responsibility; it’s about owning and appreciating who we are: human and fallable, and that it’s ok. When the hell did being human become such a problem, anyway? How far back do we have to go, to see where it all started, or why, or when, or how the hell to stop it? Why welcome pain? Or more of it? Is it familiar? Comfortable? Does real love scare us? What are you running to? Or from? Recognize the cycles and quit your roles in them. I get it that we can’t choose our family, but we can choose how much of the drama we tolerate. We can choose our friends, our career, and our partner, and we do have control over how many times they’re going to drop red flags before we walk, or they do. Two sides of the same coin; round and round we go…
Boundaries: Toxic seeks boundaries that are either inconsistent or nonexistent. Simply put: it’s easier because it’s less of a challenge. So, will they waste their time on someone who is hip to their shit, or has solid boundaries? Some yes; most no. It’s not worth their time. They’re looking for the person who is trusting, accommodating, a helper, a fixer, someone who puts everyone else’s needs before their own. And those who’ve been targeted usually come to realize their boundaries need tightening after they’ve been targeted. So, now’s your time to readjust and realign your boundaries to empower yourself. It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to set the bar high. And it’s OK to be picky with who you let in your life, and who you dismiss.
Alone, not Lonely: Toxic loves company, and can’t be alone. Being alone gets confused with feeling lonely. So, it’s about self-destruction to fend off the self-hate; hypocrisy. The pattern leaves a wake of victims in its path, creating one destructive cycle after another…. So quit your role. There’s no cycle if no one’s playing their roles..When you leave a toxic situation (either kicked out or walked out), it’s now about licking your wounds and healing. Healing is about adjusting to your new normal, which means taking time for you. Solitude is peace. It’s about doing your thing, alone…not lonely. It’s about distancing yourself from noise and distractions, and relationships, and bullshit. It’s about embracing your own space, focusing on your mind, your body, your soul. Enroll in that online class. Take up jogging. Embrace meditation. It’s in these moments of solitude where healing happens. So, if they’re out repeating the same thing, who cares. You’re taking control of your life, and who you keep in it.
Resilience: Superman may have turned out to be Lex Luthor, but you know what? Who cares? Seriously, who cares. You’re moving ahead in your life, empowered, even if it feels like you’re not. Resilience is what got you through that treacherous friend, conniving coworker, or Lex Luthor lover. Resilience can’t be seen at first. It’s felt. It’s about empowerment; about how good it feels to take that bite of the shit sandwich you were handed, and to keep taking those forward baby steps, stronger from each step and every bite. Resilience is seen after a while, in those moments where you’re not spending your days crying over them. Resilience is seen when you put a smile on your face for your kids, or go out with your friends when you’d rather be in your closet crying your heart out. Resilience is seen when you wake up one day and realize you aren’t missing them, and couldn’t care less about them anymore. Hell, the only thing you regret is the time wasted. Resilience is your superpower.